Extraordinary Ed Joyce

Who wheeled the initiative process out of the political junk heap and into the toolbox of contemporary democracy?

This inspirational, muscular, charismatic, jocular, peddler of provocative ideas…

An ex-car salesman, jazz musician and band leader, muckraking political crusader and his seemingly calmer wife Joyce…

Ed Koupal would publicly dissect the most comfortable and pompous of politicians, and crunch their careers.  He grew from choirboy to the nation’s foremost initiative crusader.   He taught Howard Jarvis techniques on how to make Prop 13 win.

Caliifornia's Political Reform Act 1974
People’s Lobby, Common Cause, Jerry Brown garnered 70%.

His organization directed the passage of California’s Political Reform Initiative, establishing political campaign reform and the Fair Political Practices Commission. He taught Ralph Nader and Jerry Brown how to use the initiative and play political hardball.  He built 40-50 people and kids into People’s Lobby which Nader referred to as the “best grassroots organization in the nation.”  People’s Lobby directed Western Bloc to stop the licensing of new nuclear power plants, while having the first and only Senate Hearings on implementing a National Initiative Process, Senate Joint Resolution 67 of 1977.

PLI organizes 3 days of hearings on SJ Res 67 in 1977 on National Initiative movement
PLI’s National Initiative Hearings of 1977

This condensed book, Ordinary People Doing the Extraordinary : The Story of Ed and Joyce Koupal and the Initiative Process, tells more about a great and unique husband and wife team.  The book was released for the 2002 campaign launch of the proposed National Initiative for Democracy.


3 thoughts on “Extraordinary Ed Joyce”

  1. It was a privilege to have moved in to Ed & Joyce’s house (headquarters of People’s Lobby) to work on their projects in 1971, 72′ & 76′. Amazing people they were. Such hard workers that put basically almost all their time while I was there (about 3 to 4 months each of the 3 times) working on the causes of air pollution & many other environmental problems. I wish the best to their kids Chris & Diane & all the great volunteers I got to know (Mick Harragin the printer, Pierre from Montreal, Rick Sanchez, Joe, Jan etc.). I’m almost positive Rick was the 1st volunteer to move in with them, then me in 1971, then Joe. We 3 lived in the attic. I’m trying hard to remember the names of the others. Then their was the two Nader’s Raider’s who moved in with us. Of course never to be forgotten, author Laura Tallian. I still have her books “Politics and Pesticides” and “Direct Democracy” both put out by People’s Lobby. If any of you People’s Lobby folks want to contact me, I give Dwayne Hunn permission to give you my email address

  2. I was one of the people who worked with Ed and Joyce at the house answering phones and doing some of the ads for the environmental proposition. That was in the early 70s. I got a lot of “death threat” calls that I forwarded to the attorneys, but the callers never stayed on the line long enough to be traced. We were suing Standard Oil at the time over F3-10. They were both amazing people! You can give my email out to anyone who was there at the time. Ed always said I was one of the Fanatic 50!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.